Washington: Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is reportedly pressurising Taliban commanders to fight against the US and its allies in Afghanistan.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the US has been providing billions of dollars in military and development aid to Pakistan in return for its support for the Afghan war, but some Pakistani officials are undermining that strategy.
“The ISI wants us to kill everyone -policemen, soldiers, engineers, teachers, civilians- just to intimidate people,” the newspaper quoted a Taliban commander, as saying.
The commander further said that when he refused to obey the order, the ISI had tried to arrest him.
“Afghans are all brothers; tomorrow we could be sitting together in one room,” he added.
Another Taliban commander said that the “ISI is supporting those under its control with money, weapons and shelter on Pakistani soil.”
Meanwhile, American officials in Afghanistan said that the ISI is against the US-Afghan move of persuading midlevel Taliban commanders to lay down their weapons in exchange for jobs or cash.
The officials claim that they have heard such talks from captured militants and those negotiating to lay down their arms.
“The ISI wants to arrest commanders who are not obeying [ISI] orders,” a Taliban commander said.
The officials further said that Pakistani pressure on midlevel Taliban leaders is part of Islamabad’s effort to make sure it has significant leverage in peace efforts.
They also conceded that it would be hard, if not impossible, to cut a peace deal in Afghanistan without Pakistan.
However, a senior Pakistani official dismissed the allegation, insisting that Islamabad is fighting militants, not aiding them.
“Whenever anything goes wrong in Afghanistan, ISI is to be blamed,” the Pakistani official said.
“Honestly, they see ISI agents behind every bush in Afghanistan,” he added.